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SDG

Measuring digital development: Facts and figures 2021

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ITU’s Measuring digital development: Facts and figures 2021 offers a snapshot of the most important ICT indicators, including estimates for the current year. Latest figures​ show that an estimated 4.9 billion people are using the Internet in 2021, or roughly 63 per cent of the world’s population. This is an increase of almost 17 per cent since 2019, with almost 800 million people estimated to have come online during that period.

The statistics reveal a connectivity ‘grand canyon’ separating the digitally empowered from the digitally excluded, with 96 per cent of the 2.9 billion still offline living in the developing world. Location plays a big part: our figures reveal that the share of Internet users in urban areas is twice as high as in rural areas. There is also a generational gap – 71 per cent of the world’s population aged 15-24 is using the Internet, compared with 57 per cent of all other age groups. And gender remains a factor: globally, 62 per cent of men are using the Internet compared with 57 per cent of women. While that digital gender divide has been narrowing across all regions, women remain digitally marginalized in many of the world’s poorest countries, where online access could potentially have its most powerful effect.